Translation of Fox' statement
Statement by Vicente Fox
Tuesday Afternoon, March 20
Publisher's Note: After more than 100 days of stalling on Zapatista demands for release of all EZLN political prisoners and the closure of seven military bases in Chiapas, Mexican President Vicente Fox today - in response to the Zapatistas announcement of their imminent return to Chiapas - held a press conference in which he said he has ordered:
- Release of remaining Zapatista political prisoners, including federal prisoners. .
- The closure of the remaining three military bases on the Zapatista list of seven.
- Increased efforts by his administration to convince the Congress to meet, as a full body, with the Zapatistas.
Narco News repeats it's headline of earlier today: The Zapatistas have truly called the government's bluff.
Stay tuned for further updates - AG
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Statement by Fox
Good afternoon. All of you have been witnesses, every citizen, of our absolute will to reach peace in Chiapas.
We have extended our hand and given a welcome to the EZLN march, and at all moments we have complied with our word so that it will be respected.
We speak the truth to the citizens, to the entire country, and above all, we speak with actions, very concrete actions. That's why:
First: As president of all the Mexican people, and as an integral part of the legislative process, I respectfully call upon the Congress of the Union to find the space and form to receive and listen to the EZLN, so that it can process and decide the matter of the revindication of the rights and cultures of the indigenous peoples.
Second: It is our desire that the dialoque prospers to support and push, together with the legislators, the EZLN, and the members of the indigenous peoples of the country the approval of the constitutional reform that guarantees that never again will the indigenous people be forgotten. Third: I am ordering that federal prisoners be released once we can know from the EZLN the corresponding names.
Fourth: I am filing a decree to transform the military bases of Guadelupe Tepeyac, of Ri'o Euseba and of La Garrucha into development centers for the indigenous communities.
Fifth: I am also sending, at this moment, a letter to Subcomandante Marcos requesting a meeting before his return to Chiapas.
I propose that we have a dialogue about the approval of the initiative that I have sent to the Congress of the Union and to push, in the entire country, a human development program for the 10 million indigenous brothers and sisters.
Where there have been weapons, hearts and wills will open to promote the dignity of our indigenous sisters and indigenous brothers. We all want peace, we all want peace to be a reality, but a true peace is born from justice, it is born from reconciliation and unity. We can come to peace in Chiapas. We have time to reach the peace in Chiapas.
The President of Mexico will do everything on his part, everything that is necessary, so that this peace is a reality.
Thank you very much.
President, the United States of Mexico